I've seen first-hand the results of mountaintop removal mining, an extremely destructive form of coal mining that entails blowing up mountains, removing the tops, and dumping the rubble into streams, filling entire valleys and waterways.
My family’s homeplace was destroyed by it, and the ruthlessness of the coal mining industry. Our drinking water was contaminated, and blasting shook our house and our community every day. We also dealt with extreme dust pollution and noise pollution, and flyrock, or large boulders that the explosion spits out through the air.
I’m so thankful that people like you are getting involved in this fight. I’ve been in this for 20 years, and for so long, I felt like I stood alone. One voice doesn’t go very far. Many voices do. I am asking you to join this chorus of voices so that we are heard by our nation’s leaders.
- Donna Branham, Mingo County, West Virginia
Donna’s story is not unique — there are families across Appalachia who are living with the same injustice.
The health impacts of this radically destructive form of mining are staggering. No one can survive without clean water and scientific research shows that people living near mountaintop removal mines face greater threats to their health and their lives. Cancer rates are two times higher; babies are 26 percent more likely to be born with birth defects. How long will we let this go on?
Last year, President Obama and his administration showed a strong commitment to the law and science by vetoing one of the largest mountaintop removal mines ever proposed, Spruce No. 1 Mine in West Virginia. The Spruce mine was slated to become one of the largest mountaintop removal mines in Appalachia. With its veto, the EPA spared the surrounding communities, which are already suffering from extensive mountaintop removal mining in their area, from further health impacts. Unfortunately, however, a recent court decision overturned the veto, reviving the grave threats to these communities.
Meanwhile, coal companies and their lobbyists are pushing for more than 100 new mountaintop removal mining permits, seeking permission to blow more mountains up and destroy more mountain streams in even more communities. Now, it is all the more important for the Obama administration to keep up the fight to prevent this huge mine from destroying more of Appalachia's waters.
Please take action now to tell President Obama and his administration to follow the Clean Water Act and to stand up for clean water and justice in every one of its individual permit decisions across Appalachia.